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Dramatic change in the Japanese film industry occurs about as frequently as dramatic change at Mount Fuji, which last erupted in 1707.

Every year, the box-office top 10 is dominated by releases from Toho, which are mainly new installments of tried-and-true anime franchises or live-action films based on TV series or manga. And as reliably as the sunrise, graying industry figures weigh in on the sad state of Japanese cinema, with some predicting its imminent demise. Yet the industry lumbers on, like a dinosaur oblivious to the giant meteor in the sky.

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